I can hardly believe an entire week has already passed again. I have reached a new level of exhausted while I continue to stare endlessly at a backside that just will not start expanding in giving birth. I am on day 5 of continuous trekking to the barn every 2 hours. The last 33+ hours have been spent watching contraction after contraction, while SRM My Precious continues to be in no hurry to ACTUALLY give birth. She is not in distress or terrible discomfort, therefore I am absolutely not allowed to stress whatsoever. Nature knows way better than we ever will for when the right time is for something to happen. Precious will kid when she is good and ready, and certainly not a second before.
More about Precious to come, but I really should address the question of "Was SRM Mystique actually pregnant?" Sadly the answer is no. Nope, nope, nope. To the disappointment of many, what did seem to good to be true, proved to be another false pregnancy. The more I learn about goats, the more I realize I don't know. Tricky critters, these sneaky, crafty little friends of mine.
So as I write this blog entry, I have 4 amazing and dedicated volunteers in my barn ensuring the needs of the herd are all being met. I feel blessed to have so much help here and it adds to the fun to share the endless waiting with others who are enduring this agonizing game for the first time. Last night, two of my volunteers slept in the barn with Precious for the entire night, which I LOVE SO MUCH!!! It was the first time I haven't slept in the barn during kidding in 12 years! I have to admit, I didn't miss the mosquitos, and did enjoy sleeping in my own bed, even if I was still up and walking to the barn every couple of hours. I also admit I felt very creepy peeking into the stall where Precious and her team of dedicated doulas were sleeping lol. I was touched beyond words <3 So I MUST give a HUGE shout out to my girls Nava and Bailey! Seriously, you both rock!!! I assure you, the wait will be well worth it! <3
We have completed another great week of Goat Yoga classes her, being offered by Muskoka Hot Yoga (https://muskokahotyoga.com/). Trinity continues to bring a great class to her students, and the goats bring great playful energy and a lot of cuddles. Now that we have a routine going and the kinks worked out, the "yoga" gang are settling into this new activity. At each class it seems the goats enjoy themselves more and more. I am thrilled to see repeat attendees at classes! I think one of the most adorable observations I've noticed is that my crew of Dwarf Dwarf siblings that are the "oldest", but smallest goats in the yoga squad, have attached themselves to Trinity herself. At yesterday's class I captured Bilbo trying to get Trinity's attention by nibbling on her flipflops with his sister Raen, I swear those three think they are Trinity's helpers lol. I think Galadriel thinks they are soul sisters <3 This past weekend I was fortunate enough to have some dear family visit and I booked them space into one of these classes. It was fun to watch them take part in something that I am really enjoying hosting each week. The class sizes have remained small to stay within the current group size restrictions. With the province stepping into phase 3 of reopening though, group sizes will be increasing slightly soon. I will always continue to restrict the number of people who visit the farm at one time. In order to ensure the most intimate connection with our guests and herd, I always like to keep the group size on the smaller size anyways.
So, after a few more hours have passed since I began writing this blog entry today, Precious is still keeping us waiting. I am distracting myself at this point with anything else, so writing this is helpful. I really do need to purchase another Fitbit the next chance I have! I would have loved to see the steps I've walked recently back and forth from the barn so many times. Precious is finally in active labour now though, meaning she is occasionally pushing, and very up and down. These things take time and I am never one to rush. I will sleep good once these kids are safely on the ground, and until then will remain in auto pilot. I am almost grateful that Mysti isn't pregnant so that I don't have to watch another doe until the beginning of August when SRM Hermione is due.
There was a beautiful surprise highlight to my weekend and that was in the surprise serenading of my herd (and family) of local musician Mitch Buebe. Mitch's teen daughter is one of my volunteers here, and when he brought her to the farm he offered to play the saxophone for the herd. My herd loves music in ALL forms. Each person that comes to play for them always has a captivated and appreciated audience. It is always so lovely and magical to watch. Mitch played quite a few lovely songs from his baritone saxophone for everyone who was lucky enough to be at the farm Sunday morning prior to the start of Trinity's goat yoga class. What a special and rare treat in these times of covid, when the one thing I miss the most is access to live outdoor music. A special thank you to Mitch for that lovely surprise <3 Check out Mitch and his amazing and talented band here (http://www.mitchbeube.com/)
Alright, as much as I would love to be able to write and share more - that will have to wait until these new bouncy babies are born! I will post a birth announcement blog once the occasion arrives, as well as posting on social media. Send your loving energy and birthing vibes our way! Anything to get Precious to kid already! Until next time ~ Angee
Hello friends! Another week has gone past in a blur, with new programs and activities happening at the barn every day. Of course the news I was hoping to announce this week hasn't yet begun to occur. Both Precious and Mystique are in no hurry and seem quite content to keep their sweet babies to themselves a while longer. Both are in good spirits and still joining the herd on walks currently. The walking seems to keep my girls in great shape for kidding season, and I think this may contribute to why my girls rarely have problems giving birth. (touch wood)
My days are blurring more and more as the weeks pass. COVID has done such a number on my business that I've had to work beyond overtime these past few months to stay afloat, but I am proud of how I can continue to think up new and innovative ways to help support my community with the herd. I feel like I am finally bouncing back from the initial devastation caused by COVID. It sucks that my mobile Goats on the Go! program won't be able to run for some time yet, but I am thinking and planning always, so know we will continue to be OK. I am adding some new blood to the team in the shape of some powerhouse business development. I know that I am only capable of so many hours a day to get work done, and it is time to call in some serious back up :) More about that in the coming days :)
While we all continue to wait for the new babies to arrive, I know many are anxious for news. Funny thing about waiting for goats to give birth. The more we question or try to intervene, the longer they seem to take. There is an old video widely circulated among goat farmers that really sums up what it is like waiting for them to give birth. Although this video is "dated", it is still funny and oh so very true! I present "Does Secret Code of Honor"
I will absolutely post updates as soon after a birth occurs as I am able. No news means I'm just still waiting patiently as well.
This past week has been very exciting and a lot of fun while the goats adjust to working with new practitioners and continue to learn new skills. The Goat Yoga classes being offered my Muskoka Hot Yoga (https://muskokahotyoga.com/) here at the farm are going really well. After a few trial runs I have determined that my yearlings are the best with the yoga classes as they are still curious and playful with meeting new people. Each class gets more interesting as they become more relaxed with the new environment and activity. As you can see from this picture, they work hard in these classes. When the new babies are old enough to join, they will bring even more youthful exuberance to these classes.
The goats and I also participated in our very first Barefoot Goat Walk! It was a really neat experience and everyone enjoyed themselves. This walk was organized by Muskoka Barefoot Inc. (https://www.muskokabarefoot.com/) and there are currently no further activities scheduled with them.
Last night was a very powerful full moon. For the first time Sky River Meadows hosted a Full Moon Sound healing ceremony run by Trinity O'Brien of Muskoka Hot Yoga. The sounds echoing out of our old century barn while the sun set over the hay fields was a very surreal experience. The herd came out of the barn and seemed to marvel at the vibrations and beautiful sounds as well. Even the wildlife seemed to notice. To the lucky participants inside the barn, they were able to take part in an hour long sound healing meditation. The more I work with Trinity, the more I come to respect and love this beautiful soul. I feel blessed and honoured to share my work space with Trinity, and hope to continue to work together for as long as we both need to, in order to get through these challenging COVID times. As I am so passionate about supporting my community, helping other practitioners who also support my community just makes so much sense :)
I think the biggest news that has filled me with the most excitement this past week was the launch of Episode 2 of GOAT. Last week I wrote about Toronto performer David Shilman (@MarkTwangMusic) and his audition in front of my herd of judges. I am so pleased with how great his performance went and think that his testimonial is hilarious. Take a look for yourself and see what you think. Will you be the next to apply to perform for the herd? A huge thank you to David Shilman and J'aime from The Snowlake Initiative for such a great episode :)
So that's all for updates this week! Not a ton to write about when most of my week has been spent frowning at two little goat mammas, waiting for some sign. In the meantime, remember the Doe Code and don't prolong our wait! As soon as there is news to share I will be quick to announce it. Stay well and be kind <3 ~ Angee
It is a beautiful, sunny Monday on the farm! This past week has been a flurry of activity and excitement as new programs began, new volunteers started working here and we get ever closer to the arrival of the new additions to the SRM herd. Babies are due to arrive Friday which means I am on full alert mode where my two moms to be are concerned. SRM My Precious is fit to burst and I suspect she has twins on board, but she may surprise me with triplets. SRM Mystique seems right on track to give birth, but I am still skeptical as to whether or not any babies will come out of her, as she has fooled me many times before. I am admittedly eager and excited though, as she has never been THIS pregnant before. We will know soon without a doubt. Several of my team are also in the same state while we watch Mysti, like a kettle that never boils. As birth announcements are amongst my favourite things to post, news will be sent out quickly when all blessed new arrivals happen. <3
With much news to announce, I am going to just get right to it. We began running Goat Yoga classes in partnership with Muskoka Hot Yoga this past week. Two classes have run so far, with lots of playful magic added from the goats, to Trinity's already great yoga class. I was bummed to discover that if I try to join in and do yoga with the class, my herd will basically stick around me and be less likely to interact with the other participants. So my sole role during Goat Yoga is now poo patrol! They are goats, and yes, they do poop. The goats are amazingly respectful of where they go though so rarely do they poop on anyone's yoga mats. Trinity also brings her sound bowls to her yoga practice and the goats seem fascinated with the tone and energy held within each bowl. No matter which goats join the class, they all seem to go and stick their heads in Trinity's bowls, and generally make a mess of her belongings. With each class, I learn more about which herd members are best suited to which activities. The yoga goats tend to be the younger, more outgoing goats. Muskoka Hot Yoga will be offering classes 3 times a week, through to the end of July. If you are interested in joining a class, you can find all the information and sign up here: https://muskokahotyoga.com/ Trinity is also offering other programs on select days here at the farm through to the end of July.
This past Saturday we had the privilege of taking part in Episode 2 of GOAT: Talent Search. I can't even describe how much fun it is to be a part of this great show. Mark Twang was the brave second contestant to come and preform live in front of the SRM judges. He brought his folk vibes, humour and even introduced the herd to the kazoo! It was a great afternoon, and luckily the rain held off as they were calling for severe thunderstorms. The herd was hungry, the song was fun and lively, and Mark was able to record several takes for his entry into GOAT: Talent Search. You can follow Mark @MarkTwangMusic on Instagram. I am eagerly anticipating watching the second episode of GOAT and will share it to my social media as soon as it become available.
It is not too late to apply to be on GOAT! Check out all the information on this fun, entertaining and talent filled competition at The Snow Lake Initiative.
Who is going to be next? What are you waiting for? The judges are eager to see you preform your talent for them!
Another new development/collaboration begins this week with Muskoka Barefoot Inc. https://www.muskokabarefoot.com/ Owner/Practitioner Agatha Farmer, will be offering two ongoing programs here at Sky River Meadows. Beginning tomorrow, we will host the first Barefoot Goat Walk with the herd. Beginning this Thursday and running every Thursday until October will be the Barn Burner Bootcamp fitness program for ladies. To get more information on either of these programs, and also to register, please contact Agatha directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
This past week has been incredible, full of many great connections here at the farm. I am continuing to meet with individuals who are interested in running their own programs here, and will update as things are in place. I was blessed to experience my very first reiki healing session on Saturday by a dear friend, and was beyond blown away by the experience. The experiment was to see what the herd would do during a reiki session, and the results were remarkable. Not only did they take interest, several of them got involved! I can't wait to make the announcements about the upcoming services that will be offered here by this amazing and beautiful individual. I have it on good authority that my herd is also excited to begin this work with her. Is it odd to be proud of your goat herd and the skills that they are learning and adding to their own resumes? Honestly it feels like the same pride I have for my sons many accomplishments. :)
We expanded our herd recently by adding 6 goats that I have had an ongoing relationship with for many years. The plan to add these goats has been more than a year in the making. As if adding 6 new goats wouldn't be challenging enough, these 6 don't even all get along with each other! They are divided into two herds of 3, making it even more difficult to integrate them into my herd. This ragtag posse of non conformists are determined to make each and every day here a bigger challenge. Normally I would never add to my numbers, but under special and unusual circumstances, and with health statures assured, I can bring in new members. These particular goats belonged to a family that I have mentored for many years and as a result they have become family. Life changes mean sometimes we have to make difficult choices, and so these 6 will hopefully integrate fully into my herd in due time. So far, each attempt to take these guys for a walk with my herd has had the same results - they head out the gate, in the opposite direction the herd just went, to head up my driveway as if headed for home! This may take some time, but I am confident that at least a few of these guys will become active members of my therapy herd. Those that don't at least try to follow the rules........well, they'll join the large group of retired animals I already have.
The biggest anticipatory news of each year on the farm is when babies arrive! July 3 is the first due date for both SRM My Precious and SRM Mystique. Expect announcements, news, pictures and videos of all the exciting new arrivals soon! It is suddenly a flurry of activity as my team of volunteers and I prepare the barn for birthing and baby goat snuggling. I am always seeking reliable, loving volunteers to help out with the hands on raising, training and socializing of the herd. If you've ever thought about joining my team, reach out! I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time my friends, stay well, be kind, and remember to fiercely love yourself daily. ~ Angee
Hello dear friends. What a glorious day it is, here on the farm. Summer has arrived and a slower pace to the daily chore routine is a very welcome relief to me. Hotter days mean the goats eat less hay and browse more. It also means they sleep more and are less demanding on my time. I actually managed to finally finish getting my garden in over the last couple of weeks and I am happy to say it is flourishing! Guess my thumbs aren't as black as I had originally thought. With a bit more time to myself I have been able to continue actively pursuing my new passion of trying to spark inspiration in others. The more energy I seem to commit to this venture, the more exciting it becomes each day.. I am actively planning with several individuals who will begin offering new programming here at Sky River Meadows in the coming weeks. I am stoked and I am pretty sure the herd is as well! Each new idea we are exploring, the more ideas we seem to spark. The goats are very curious about all of the new activities and I am excited to see how each new skill they learn will enhance their abilities. For the time being it makes sense to continue to hold my Goat of the Week stories and instead focus on sharing updates about farm happenings. These are busy and exciting times! I am so grateful that I am able to have the help of my volunteers here again. Even I have to admit that I am tired and can't continue to sustain this pace for much longer. Having other avenues to bring in new revenue streams will ensure we survive through these unstable times. As I am always seeking the positive in every situation, I can think of no better way than that of a mutually beneficial collaboration with other practitioners who can offer their services here. Or even better, for them to team up with my herd and I in new and creative ways. I am bursting to share some of the news, but it is too soon yet. One collaboration is ready to begin though, and the first event is this upcoming Wednesday evening, and is completely sold out!
I am so honoured and excited to be partnering up with Trinity O'Brien of Muskoka Hot Yoga! Trinity will be partnering with the SRM herd to begin offering Goat Yoga here at the farm 3 times a week through to the end of July. Trinity will also be offering some her own programs here at the property, which will allow her to reach her clients in a safe, socially distanced environment. Through the coming weeks, the herd and I will be blessed not only with Trinity's offerings here, and connections it will bring, but we will also receive the healing benefits of Trinity's singing bowls, as well as her wealth of experience and knowledge, as she guides her participants through some amazing experiences here this summer. You can read all about Trinity, and the amazing work she does on her Muskoka Hot Yoga website. https://muskokahotyoga.com/
You'll also find a schedule of events, and information on how to register, what to expect, and what to bring for any of the programs she will be running here.
Trinity had this to say about offering her programs here at SRM:
"I have loved goats since I was a little girl. Combining yoga with goats was a no brainer. You can not be in a great mood when around them. They are playful, friendly, oh so cute and personality to spare! The goats bring a playfulness of yoga to a whole new level. If you love to laugh, and feel good, you will benefit from joining me on your may to breathe, move and play with these adorable therapy goats at Sky River Meadows. I look forward to seeing you soon!"
To say I am excited about these collaborations is an understatement. I know that by supporting each other through these challenging times, we can all come out better and stronger than ever on the other side of this crazy year. By aligning with like minded individuals to continue to try to help support our communities, we can't lose. It is also a huge comfort to me to know that I am not struggling through these times alone, but others are struggling too and we can help each other by working together where we can. If you have an idea, like Trinity, on how you can bring something to help support our community in partnership with the herd or the farm, please reach out! I would love to hear from you!
Normally at this time of year I would already be in the midst of the newest generation of the herd arriving. My breeding plans for the year were thrown off with the unexpected death of one of my main bucks, and then COVID. For this reason, kidding season hasn't even begun here, but we are fast approaching the first births of 2020! SRM My Precious, and SRM Mystique are both due to give birth on July 3rd, and SRM Hermione is due August 2nd. In the meantime, young Romeo is receiving all the baby snuggles (even though he is getting stinky) at the moment. He won't look so little when the new arrivals come and then he will have to compete for attention again. I took this beautiful picture of Sharon, one of my lovely volunteers, cuddling Romeo while we were visiting with seniors at their windows last week. These two have formed a special bond and Romeo was sound asleep in this picture. You can't see in the photo for privacy's sake, but right beside Sharon is a window lined with smiling faces of the seniors at Muskoka Landing in Huntsville. For anyone who asks, "What is it like to volunteer at Sky River Meadows?" I think Sharon's face says it all right here. If you've ever thought about reaching out to offer some time or skills you have to offer, now is the best time to reach out. The benefits of volunteering here are innumerable, and possibly even immeasurable for all of us, as the work we do is so fun and far reaching. Now more than ever I think my farm, and others like it, will become powerful places of healing, and that means we will need all the help and support we can get. I think if anything, COVID has taught me why resilience is so important. Life is ever changing and we need to be able to adapt with those changes. I refuse to allow this virus complication to slow down my work or how I want to help my community. With each new challenge in life, we are invited to discover new ideas and inspiration we hadn't previously considered. Working with others and dreaming new innovative ideas is creating a life force of it's own here at the farm. Volunteers can also get in on the excitement, and be involved in some pretty magical moments. Reach out to me to find out how you can get involved :)
For the closing of my blog for this week, I want to take some time to sing praises to my herd, and to my team of volunteers and friends who continue to help out around the farm, with the herd or with my work. The past few weeks since reopening my barn doors, my herd has surprised and astounded me daily with their open, willing hearts, and abilities to always, ALWAYS know exactly what to do, and with whom. If anything I think the time the herd and I had in isolation together, gave us all a long needed rest. Being back in action it is almost like the herd is inspired alongside me to work harder to help more people every day. Goats who previously would never come forward to interact with guests have since come out from the shadows and are beginning to shine with their own gifts. Oddly enough, even my herd Queen Bonnie, who is wild and unfriendly, has been allowing several people to pet her. I am shocked each time it happens and then try to touch her myself, but NOPE! I know my place with her and it doesn't include unwanted touching! It could be that both my herd and needed those many weeks in isolation for a much needed rest and reflection period to see where we are needed most. Some have asked me how the herd faired through the quarantine and I won't lie, it has been challenging. For twelve years these goats have interacted with, been loved by and created bonds with many volunteers and guests. Many of those relationships are just as important to my animals as they are to the people who've fallen in love with them. My entire herd became depressed for weeks after being cut off from their sense of "normal" as well. I think since reopening we've all been given a new sense of purpose. Emotions have been really high from each and every person that has visited in recent weeks. Everyone has been through a lot and the stories and experiences being shared are amazing to listen to. We've all endured much in a few short months. Often as in the case of in my line of work, things are not easy to put into words. Even for me who has spent every day with this gang for twelve years, I find it impossible to put some things into words. The photos I have shared in this post are some of the magical moments I've managed to capture here recently. If any of these photos speak to you, reach out and book a visit. Now might be the perfect time to hear the wisdom of some pretty remarkable little goats :) Until next time, with love Angee
Good morning beautiful friends. I hope that you are all well, and that you're finding ways to stay grounded, present and aware through all of the chaos swirling around the world. I am choosing to continue to postpone further Goat of the Week stories, and for the time being think it makes the most sense to write a GotW post when it is fitting to do so, and write about other stuff when I have other stuff to write about. (I do so enjoy putting ridiculous amounts of pressure on myself for no apparent reason - something I am working to change, hence the shift from weekly GotW stories)
As energetic beings, humans are very sensitive to energy, and that includes the emotional energy of others. I do not recall a time in my life where there was more turmoil, chaos and confusion, on a global scale. During these times I think it is more important than ever for us individually to make conscious choices in how we each choose to react and respond to the new world we now live in. Each day we embark on our journeys, we never know what we will see, hear, or be subjected to. We are never able to choose what happens to us in life, but we are absolutely able to choose how we respond to it! My personal choice is to choose LOVE, always. I will also choose COMPASSION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNITY, CONNECTION, and POSITIVITY. I am finding the most peace in my own life when I remain focused on my individual mission and goals. Lately I have become shocked at how easily I can get sidetracked, or distracted from these goals, just by spending a few moments reading the news, or if I'm feeling particularly silly, by venturing onto Facebook to see the vitriol that people are choosing to throw at each other for this particular day. Previously I've only really ever experienced this level of open hatred, judgement and turning on each other within my own family tree, for which I am grateful to be the black sheep. I do my thing, and they can all go do theirs. Here at the farm in the two weeks since I've reopened, this has been the most frequently discussed topic. Why is everyone turning against each other? My take at this point is that now that these very sensitive issues are coming to light, people are choosing a side. Once you choose a side, you'll realize who in your life sits on the other side of the very same issue. Hence division, anger, frustration, etc, etc. There is literally an overabundance of negative energy in the world right now, and I will do everything I can to combat it.
A couple of weeks ago I was given a gentle reminder by a mentor and teacher of mine, which inspired me to put a call out to anyone who had a great idea for partnering with my goat herd to spread a positive message or healing in some way. Let me tell you what an incredible amount of ideas have come forth already and all of them exciting. Some are now in the beginning stages of being developed and everyone will learn about them as they become reality. One idea in particular though has already become a reality, and is seriously something I am so excited to be a part of. The GOAT (Greatest Of All Time): Talent Search, created by local musician/song writer, and founder of The Snow Lake Initiative, J'aime Payne. Sky River Meadows, the SRM goats, and I have the honour, and privilege to be hosting and participating in this amazing new event.
J'aime Payne is a singer-songwriter who grew up in the rural haven of Huntsville, Ontario. She relocated to Toronto in 2013 where she gained critical behind-the-scenes work experience with a number of high-profile creative businesses specializing in the music industry. Her ventures have included television commercial work (Visa, Audible, Hyundai) , successful applications for provincial grants (grossing more than $500K), business management for some of Canada’s multi-million dollar export artists and a cherished stint with CIRAA (The Canadian Independent Recording Artists' Association) as their Director of Member Services before the association sadly dissolved in 2016. In 2020, J’aime will focus her creative energies on assisting members of The Snow Lake Initiative through The Snow Lake Advantage, and will continue to pursue a professional career as a songwriter.
J'aime had these words to share about what inspired her vision - GOAT: Talent Search.
As someone needed to go first to show how it would work, and all come together, J'aime bravely took the plunge, grabbed her guitar and headed out amongst the judges to try her best to impress them with her amazing talent. I love how willing J'aime was to be her very own guinea pig, being the first contestant. I assure you, this was a TON of fun to record and to be a part of. Watching as my beloved herd were moved by her beautiful song, I too was moved to tears more than once. The day was perfect, the setting incredible, with my only complaint being it was REALLY windy making it hard for recording the audio. Here is GOAT: Episode 1
Now that the first contestant has set the bar for the competition to begin. we are welcoming others to apply to be a contestant on GOAT. You can find all the information on this contest and how to apply here:
I can't think of a better way to spend the summer than having live entertainment come to us! I am so proud to be hosting this amazing event and competition here at the farm, with the help of my goat friends. Thank you to J'aime for being so creative and coming up with an amazing, inspiring, and uplifting way to partner with the SRM herd.
This is EXACTLY the kind of creativity that I am hoping to continue to inspire with others here at the farm. If reading about GOAT and how J'aime was inspired to create this fun competition has inspired you, in your own way, then please reach out! Let's not stop here with GOAT: Talent Search. Who else has an inspiring idea to spread the message of love, community and positivity? There has honestly never been a better time than right now to tap into your creative energy. The world needs it now more than ever. We all know for a fact that there is plenty of ugly, dark, negativity, fear etc. all around us. I want to hear from you if you have an idea on how think you may also partner with my herd to create and chase your own dreams. I truly believe that we all have a unique gift that when combined with passion, and creativity, it creates a power all on it's own and can affect great change. J'aime reached out and look at what her idea became! Who's next?
With love, ~ Angee
Hello dear friends. I don't know about you, but I am feeling pretty RAW these days. Six months into 2020 and amongst everything else, we are now in a new civil rights movement. Due to world events and my own need to say something about them, I have decided to not write a Goat of the Week post, but instead just allow myself to write freely with less pressure. To be honest with you all, I was losing sleep over how to intertwine a goat story with everything I need and want to say this week. These are serious days and times for serious discussions to be had, about the especially sensitive issues, such as racism and how certain individuals are being targeted specifically because of the colour of the skin they were born with. I am literally becoming disgusted with the number of times I have had to attempt to educate white people this week for countering "BLACK LIVES MATTER" with the statement of "ALL LIVES MATTER". As a white privileged woman, I am guilty of having an advantage in life due to the colour of my skin. As a matter of fact, I am guilty of worse. I am guilty of staying silent in the face of racism. I have witnessed situations in my past where I should have intervened, but instead remained silent. For the first time in my life I am really examining the ways that I contribute to racism, even by staying silent. Through a lens of white privilege I can see so many ways in which I have not done enough, and how I can do better.. When it comes to those who choose to say the offensive words "ALL LIVES MATTER", I searched the interwebs for a meme that I think explains it in a gentle and kind manner - which at this point might in fact be beyond my ability to find kind words to use.
I need to get this off my chest....
I am a white privileged woman.
* I have white privilege because I have never feared for my safety at any time while dealing with law enforcement.
** I have white privilege because I had to LEARN about racism, but have never personally EXPERIENCED it.
*** I have white privilege because I can go out alone and not be watched or followed based on the colour of my skin.
**** I have white privilege because I can freely choose to do many things that others can't, only based on skin colour.
I know I could go on, but think you get the point. This is not to say that I have ever had it easy in life , because I haven't. I've faced trauma, challenges and stigma in many areas of my own life. None of those challenges had anything to do with my skin colour. I am not completely free from racism in my life though. Those of you who know me personally will know my son and that he is mixed race. He has the dark skin, dark hair and dark eyes of his Indigenous ancestors. For the 28 years of my son's life I have stood beside him and supported him through his own experiences with racism within his hometown of Huntsville, ON. He was born here, and has lived here for his entire life, but he has always had to face the additional challenges of racism in his daily life. He has been bullied, abused, taunted, ridiculed, ostracized, judged and blamed unfairly. He has lost friends, jobs, missed out on school trips "in case of any potential issue", and he even had to change schools once. In that particular situation he was abused by other students, in a long term situation. I was personally told by that school principal that it was my son's own fault, and that he wouldn't be bullied or beat up if he wasn't "flaunting his heritage." For the record - my son was 8 at the time. He was beaten and had his medicine bag ripped from his neck. A medicine bag is a small pouch worn around the neck to keep sacred items in. It is commonly worn under the clothes and next to the skin. Regardless, my son changed school within weeks. Now as an adult he will still tell you that racism is alive and very active in Muskoka. Something that I have not shared with many, perhaps no one other than my immediate family. Although I was a mother at a very young age, I was always well aware of the Indian Act that exists in Canada and the registry that the Canadian government put in place. I knew from the very beginning that there was no way I was going to add my son's name to any government registry just based on his ancestry. Instead, I filed the important information he would need to make his own choice as an adult. Do you know why the Canadian government created the Indian Act? Yes, the term is still active and used to this day, and in fact as an adult, my son is now registered with the Indian Act. Do you know I wouldn't register him as an infant because there were still active residential schools still running. Do you know that the last residential school in Canada closed in 1996? My son was 4 years old at that time - school aged. It honestly sickens me when I think about it. I am so grateful that I was born questioning EVERYTHING. It got me in a lot of trouble when I was young but it sure has payed off as an adult.
OK, so normally I talk about a particular emotion each week, and I had originally intended to. Oddly enough after 10 hours of work on this blog today, I lost the entire post! It reverted to where I had saved it last night before bed, and an entire days work was lost. Perhaps the universe was saving me from an insane rant, or perhaps it was divine intervention. Either way, what has happened for me during the process of writing my thoughts out twice, is that I feel 2x better than when I started! I don't know if anyone will get anything out of this post, but for me it has been incredibly eye opening to challenge myself, to challenge my views, and to challenge my own actions. If any of my readers out there feel inspired to take a good hard look at themselves and grow from it, then it wasn't just for me. I think no matter what colour our skin is, we all can find ways to make ourselves better people moving forward. Let's embrace our fellow humans and stand in solidarity with each other. Our exterior is not what makes us, anymore than the clothing we choose to cover our bodies with. It is our hearts and souls that determine our individuality that really matters. Don't mind me while I burn with determination to make this world a more loving and more accepting place. So many bright lights are dimmed due to ignorance and hate. It is time to embrace and support each other for the amazing beings of creativity we all are. What if we all tried to spark a light in someone else for a change? Create a positive movement through love? My mantra for the last month has been to "plant a seed to inspire" and I think it is more relevant now than a month ago when I put it up on my motivational message board. I won't promise that next week will see a return of my GotW posts yet. At this point I think the entire world is spinning one day at a time. I do promise to return to attempting to break down emotions, and to continue examining and learning about all emotions and how they relate to my herd. For the time being though, I will choose instead to flow through each day and make my decisions based on the energy of each moment. So for the time being. try to be kind to each other. If you can, love each other. There is so much hate in the world right now. Let's spread as much love, acceptance and positivity as we each can. Challenge yourself to choose love instead of judgement and see what difference it can make in your own communities. I know I am judged for always choosing the path of love. I honestly don't care and welcome the judgement.
Please stay well and be kind to one another. With love ~ Angee
First. let me take a moment to acknowledge each and every one of you who take the time to read my words. Knowing some of you do read these posts helps to keep me on track, and dedicated to my own commitment to write these posts, but most importantly it helps me to stay true to my commitment to myself. Thank you for that, I need the push right now. Some days daily. For that I thank you, and send my loving gratitiude to you all <3
Lately it has been getting a bit more challenging for me in choosing a theme for my blog. The world is spinning in such chaotic circles at the moment, defining ONE theme when so much is happening.... when so much can be said.... so much confusion, pain, anger, hate, division.... Looking around the world, in the news and in our own home communities, I am seeing widespread FEAR. An emotion that most of us would rather not face or ever feel. This is something that we, in white priveldged western society, have been very privledged to be protected from due to the service men and women willing to stand up to protect us. Fear itself is in fact an emotion, and like all emotions, they exist to give us information that is vital to our survival, and overall well-being. I will definitely get into that much more later on in this post. For now, let me introduce my GotW. This absolute darling, sweet, young man is SRM Remus. I chose him to go along with this week's theme due to his own struggles with processing his own fear, and how he has worked through so many of those issues. Young Remus was born sensitive to the energy and emotions of others, and was also a bit delayed in developing when compared to his peers, which added some additional challenges to his early months.
Remus and his beautiful twin sister Nymphadora, were born on May 17, 2018. They were the first kids born during my "Harry Potter" naming theme. Remus originally started out as being called "Newt", but I eventually settled on naming him Remus - the decision always comes down to the personality having to fit the character name from my theme (nerdy, I know). They were born just a few weeks prior to our major farm move to the Woodfield True Nature Campus property, and at a very exciting and rather unstable time. This unfortunately for Remus, added to the challenges he was already facing. When Remus was born, his umbilical cord was caught up with his sister, and as she was born first, he became oxygen deprived for a brief time during the birthing process. This may have caused some lasting damage to Remus's cognitive abilities. I don't think many visitors ever notice anything different about him. For me, it often just appears that Remus takes longer to process information than the rest of the herd. Therefore it often looks like Remus behaves with a bit of a delayed reaction - or in some cases, a VERY delayed reaction. Often when he was quite young, by the time Remus would react to a situation, his herd has already fled, leaving him behind and running frantic to catch up. I do believe that during the first few months of his life, these delays caused undue fear stress to be more active in his life than his herdmates. When we moved, the entire herd had to adjust to a completely knew and unknown environment. We moved from a forest setting to a vast open sky. It was a pretty hard transition for my gang and for the first few weeks they were quite afraid to venture out into the open. Herd animals, like goats, have horizontal pupils that give them an amazing 350 degree visual range. However the downside to this is no vision above their heads, making them very vulnerable from above. This change was hard on them all and it took weeks before I could walk my herd out in the open after the move. For weeks every time a large bird flew overhead and cast a shadow while we were out on a walk, the entire herd would all flee back to the safety of the barn - leaving Remus behind of course. Each time this happened, I think poor Remus was traumatized a bit. I was there so he was never in any actual danger, but I don't think he felt that way about it, and besides, nature doesn't agree with us silly humans anyways. :)
Due to the potential brain injury he suffered, Remus took a lot longer to learn things such as the simple routine of where he was fed twice a day, and how we generally worked with the herd. Most goats can learn something with three repitions if they are willing and curious - which almost all are. With Remus however, due to no fault of his own, there are parts of our routine that I am not sure he will EVER learn. For example, something I witness him do OFTEN. At feeding time, we put all the grain bowls down in a seperate area and then let the herd in to eat. This happens almost every time unless I specifically intervene. Remus will be facing the opposite direction the herd is, so he won't notice the gate open, or the herd leave. He will continue to just stand there while everyone else has left, and is eating. Eventually he will turn around, and panic because everyone is gone! He has missed out on meals because of this, so I try to be diligent to make sure he is paying attention before opening the gate. This is not so much an issue for Remus now that he is 2, but when he was smaller the other kids his age bullied him relentlessly. It seemed to me that he was an easy target. I don't stand for bullying of any kind and that includes within my herd. I do have a few bullies and Remus's own mom Maisie is the biggest and meanest bully I have in the herd. Part of the training the herd gets is also in being kind to each other - which they are happy to oblige with as long as I am within eyesight for the most part. You can't blame a goat for being it's true nature, and goats do enjoy a good fight afterall!
For weeks now, due to the pandemic, as well as a multitude of other issues, we have been inundated with the emotion of fear. Fear of a virus. Fear of recession. Fear of more lockdowns, more restrictions, etc. For some, there is even worse fear of racism or even being murdered by the very people paid to protect us. Currently there is violence and unrest across the entire globe, as well as a plethora of things in our daily lives that will cause us all to feel fear. So what does fear want us to know? What is the messge in fear? The messge in fear is: There is an imminent threat to one's physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well being. So how do you honour your fear when you feel it? You ask the questions: "What is the threat?", "What must I do to move to a position of safety in relation to that threat?" We all have had to make adjustments in our lives to deal with the new threats facing us in 2020. We know there is a virus that threatens us, so we take precautions, we socially distance, we wear a meask etc. Once we take actionable steps to reduce the risk to ourselves, we need to allow the emotion (fear in this case) to move through us. When we hang on to the emotion it will intensify. In the case of fear, it will intensify into anxiety, confusion, sleeplessness, dulling of the senses, panic, terror, dissassociation and other physical and emotional effects. Animals are amazing teachers in that they can give us perspective in order to normalize so much for us. Humans are funny in how we over analyze or even make assumptions instead of just asking questions, seeking information and making necessary decisions based on that information. When learning about emotions with animals as our teachers, we open ourselves to wonderful opportunities of observing how they deal with situations and compare it to our own lives. As I was saying earlier, emotions are there to give us vital information about the world around us. Each emotion has a message to give us, and we honour our emotions when we receive that messge, and then make decisions and sometimes changes based on that information. A very wise teacher of mine explained it to me this way, that emtions are E Motions. E = ENERGY, in motion. In other words, emotions are like water, and therefore they flow. When we hold onto them instead of moving through them, we become stuck in them and then those emotions can, will and do intensify. Those emotional intensifications can lead us to illness, and ultimately immune deficiency which is not something any of us need during the a pandemic.
As humans though, we love to intervene against nature and force things to go a different way. The same could be true for me nurturing Remus instead of letting nature do it's thing. If I had done that though, I never would have had the last two years of observing how his delayed start has delayed his maturity but did not stop him from getting there eventually. His reaction time now at 2 years old is more like a 10 second delay, so he does show vast signs of improvement. The same can be said of other special needs animals on my farm too though :) I bring attention to this now as we have all been living in intense fear for weeks and it is having a negative effect on each of us. Long term exposure to certain things will have an impact and lasting effect. When we hang onto fear long term without honouring it and moving through it. we actually begin a slow process of traumatizing ourselves which can lead to PTSD. It is like the analogy of the pot and the frog if you are familiar? Try to drop a frog into a put of already boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out to safety. But take the same frog and place it in cool water, slowly bringing it to a boil, that frog will sit there and slowly boil to death never making a move to save itself. We've all been sitting with fear for 10-12 weeks depending on when you chose to isolate. We are the frog in the pot and it is causing lasting damage on a cellular level in our bodies. Out of love, I want to draw attention to this for each of you, so that you individually have the opportunity to examine your own lives, and emotions to see if you are holding onto emotions, or are you finding a way to adapt and find solutions to the direct new problems in your life. It is only through making adjustments to our lives, and the things that fear brings awareness to, that we can move through the emotion of fear. Sorry that was a lot.
So let me bring dear Remus back into the story for perspective. As Remus had a delayed start and needed longer to mature and develop, I had a lot of extra time to learn and observe his unique challenges. As a prey animal, goats by nature have a more heightened and sensitive flight or fight response. Although Remus's natural responses were delayed, they were still intact. He would eventually respond and react. Yes, it was consistently a good 15 to 30 seconds after the rest of the herd reacted, but he did REACT. I guess what fascinates me is that in nature poor Remus would have been chosen by naturel selection to fail. He likely wouldn't have made it through the first week. That is just a fact of natural life.
My point with this is that even if we struggle with certain parts of our existence for a time, it doesn't mean we won't get there eventually. Learning, gaining understanding, and personal growth are never instantaneous. We must always remember to be patient with ourselves. We are only children in this life. We are here to learn some very important lessons before we can attain that higher place in our souls journey. In all things natural, there is balance and a rhythm to things. Perhaps what may help indivdually to find balance is to go right back to the basic building blocks. Humans are animals - fact. We are of this planet and a natural being just like so many other beautiful natural beings. For me personally. when life gets overhwleming, I break it down to the simplest form and build back up from there. I immerse myself in as much nature as I can find and ask myself some very important questions. What can I personally change? What can I do? How can I help or make an impact? How can I be better? These are all realistic questions we can ask ourselves to stay more present in the current moment, and not get overwhelmed by the things that we just can't personally impact within our natural limits. We are only human after all. We all only have one brain, two hands, two feet and the same number of hours in a day. Some days we are strong and other we are not. Some days our mental clarity may be astounding and others we feel like our brains are stuck in cement. Life and all natural rhythms have an ebb and flow. Find your flow and be gracious, gentle and loving to yourself. These are hard times for each and every one of us. Let's love ourselves, and love each other, and together we will all get through this. I am always here for anyone who feels I can help or guide them in any way.
Sending out so much love to you all, now and always. <3 ~ Angee
I am very excited about this weeks edition of GotW. It is not every day that I get to announce a new arrival to the farm. Getting this little man has been so many years in the making, that it makes for an interesting story as well. As a sufferer of depression and anxiety, I find it especially important during these hard times, to personally reflect and examine just how farm some goals and projects have really come. When depression is at it's worst, I think that it is easy to FEEL like you aren't getting anywhere. So when it comes to Romeo here, I am super excited as he is daily proof to me of the progress my farm has made, which is actually helping to inspire me once again. Before I get into all the ruminations of my mind for this weeks blog story, let me introduce this gorgeous boy. When I suddenly lost Jose last year, my breeding program took a major blow, and I knew I needed to begin the search for a new herd sire. As I knew eventually this day would come I already had an idea in my mind for where I would be looking. Although only 12 weeks old now, when he matures he will be the lucky daddy to many future therapy goats. Adding him to my herd is exciting enough, but when I really sit and consider who he is and where he came from, that is where I am blown away by the progress only a few short years and a lot of hard work can make. Looking at him actually brings me pride, as I see his daddy in him, but also his grand daddy, my dear Gigalo who recently passed away. Romeo is like a missing puzzle piece returned home after so many years :) Please give a big welcome to Happy Hens Heritage ROMEO!!!
Although I don't like to look remain forward focused, when telling a story it is inevitable that digging in the past will occur. I have learned to embrace this process as part of how I release the stress and sadness I carry. Combining my stories with those of my animals as an avenue for sharing makes it easier for me somehow.
So, Romeo's story begins in 2014 when I had to make the hard decision to sell over 40 animals that I would rather not have, in order to make financial ends meet after Geordon died. Fortunately for me I was able to sell the majority of my animals to wonderful new homes with families that were homesteading. As I was also mentoring some of these families, it allowed me to stay connected in the hopes of one day having an opportunity to purchase from them. SRM Merak through a roundabout path, ended up on a lovely farm in Harriston, ON where he worked diligently as the Herdsire for Happy Hens Heritage Farms ( http://www.happyhensheritagefarm.ca/ ) for many years. SRM Merak (aka Ralphie) has enjoyed his final breeding season and is now retiring, which makes Romeo his last son. I have always adored Merak and I am so honoured to have his son here with me now. Romeo's mother BNB Honey, also has ties to SRM, as she is the daughter of my dear sweet SRM Cordelia who now lives in Gooderham, ON at Bedrock and Brambles ( https://www.bedrockandbrambles.com/ ). The temperament that I worked hard to achieve in my own herd, beautifully transferred to these new herds. So, my young Romeo is the combination of all of our work, and it fills me with pride to now own this gorgeous young buck. I was blessed to be able to have a quick visit with my dear friend Marina when I picked Romeo up from her farm the other day. It was fun to reminisce about when she started her herd years before, and how I said back then that one day I could be buying from her. I can't explain to you how proud I am to say that day came! PROGRESS!! It seems full circle to me, and it is an amazing feeling. Speaking with Marina and hearing about the success of her farm business, and future farm plans makes my heart smile. I love seeing the growth. <3
Continuing to peer a little into the past, I am so happy to see how far I have come, not only in getting my farm business off the ground, but also just in accomplishing this insane idea I had all those years ago to build this herd in the first place. I remember how inspired I was when I began, and spending time bonding with wee Romeo here over the last few days, brings me inspiration once again. We are now all living in new times with brand new challenges. I have to face the reality that my previous business plan may now no longer fit into the new COVID-19 world in which we all live. That means I get to go back into "dreamer mode". That place I tend to go to in my head where I dream up all kinds of crazy ideas - such as when I came up with the idea to create my herd. Now that I have accomplished that, I am free to dream up WHERE my herd and I can go from here. I am fully aware of the fact that my Goats on the Go! program may be a thing of the past and therefore I need to start dreaming for a future that once again is full of the unknown. I think the key to finding our own happiness is in chasing our own individual dreams and embracing it. Our society unfortunately puts a lot of pressure on us to perform in ways that don't always allow many of us to realize those dreams. Fear, stigma, the pressure and expectations from others, are just a few of the barriers we all face. Perhaps the challenge is in remembering what used to ignite us with inspiration and finding a way to connect to those things again. I know one thing for certain, there have been times in my own life when my depression was so oppressive that I literally needed a fire to ignite it and burn it away. Each time I have found my way out of the darkness of my depression, it has been due to a spark of passion that ignited a fire within me. When I see how my passion can ignite a fire in others, it makes me want to do more. That has become my new focus. I am hoping to plant some seeds of inspiration, in the hopes that the positive energy it creates will cause a ripple that will ignite passion in others as well.
Sky River Meadows will soon reopen it's doors in a limited capacity. These changing times are forcing me to once again get creative. I am in love with my Muskoka community, and have always felt blessed to live here. Everyone is so supportive and has been working hard to help each other out during this difficult time. I realize that I am not the only one who's small local business is suffering and having to make some hard decisions and changes. I have at my disposal an incredible farm with beautiful outdoor spaces in which to host a variety of connective and engaging experiences, as well as a very willing and engaging herd who also loves new challenges and experiences. This means that for the first time I am open to considering ideas for collaboration with other local people. Do you have an idea for an activity or program that we can co-create together with my herd? I would LOVE to hear from you!! I have always loved connecting with fellow dreamers. The entrepreneurial spirit that drives so many of us into pursuing our passions, has an energy all it's own. I would love to combine those energies and efforts to create something even more incredible! I have already begun to plan and dream with a few special local individuals and I can't wait to make some announcements in the coming days about the new offerings coming to the farm. If you've ever toyed around with an idea involving any or all of my goats, now is the time to reach out and tell me about your ideas. I think that when we get together to dream like we once did as children, we can reignite a spark in each other. Perhaps now is the time perfect to talk and dream with our loved ones. Reconnect with the things that once brought you joy, but maybe you've somehow lost, and see if by reconnecting to those things you can also ignite a fire within yourself. If anyone wants to have a chat about reconnecting with those things you've lost, please feel free to hit me up! Let's work together to find whatever will make you shine again! If we put all of the scary parts of our current world aside, what remains is still a beautiful opportunity to create a new way forward. We can make changes and choices now that can change our world for the better. Like this beautiful buckling Romeo, who is a great example of combined efforts, let's see what else we can co-create in this world together. <3
With much love ~ Angee
Happy Victoria Day everyone! On this week's edition of GotW I have chosen a herd member who exemplifies what it means to be resilient. A survivor who continues to defy the odds and seemingly also Death. My dear CC, who has been riding the waves of a compromised immune system for a few years now due to some health issues, continues to fight to live, against all the odds. Just this past week I was once again convinced that it was her time to leave. This has been the dance that CC and I have danced together DAILY for over a year and a half now. Once a high standing member of the SRM herd, CC had a brush with death and dropped straight to the bottom of the pecking order and has remained there ever since. One example of how nature has it's own set of rules and no human interference or meddling can alter those natural laws. As I've been struggling through my own issues during this pandemic, I draw so much daily inspiration from this little fighter. Against all the odds and after enduring some pretty terrible pain through some of it, I know many people who wouldn't have any fight left in them, but yet she continues. No matter how tired I get, no matter how depressed I may be. If CC can keep on fighting, then dammit so can I! Each day is a battle for everyone at the moment. I try to remember I am not alone, and that this too shall pass.
Funny, but sometimes I feel a compulsion to begin these stories with Once Upon a Time... ;) These aren't fairy tales, though some may disagree. I purchased Further C.C. Rider WAAAAY back when I first started my breeding program. She had genetics that I was excited to acquire, but there was also something about her personality that appealed to me. She had this aloof way about her, like a "what the heck are you looking at?" attitude. I liked that lol. With the crazy ideas I had to create my herd, I knew I needed all kinds of personality types, and I really liked CC's style lol. She has challenged me from the very first day she arrived here all those years ago, and she continues even to today. THIS photo --> grabbed only moments ago, is THE CC stink eye. If she fires THIS at you (and she likely will), you better believe she is checking you out lol. Personally I think her grudge with me started on the day I picked her up to bring her home. On that day, she was tattooed and tossed into a trailer for a very long ride to arrive to her new home in the dark. This is not the preferred way to introduce yourself to a new friend, but it is the way mine and CC's relationship began so there is no help for it, but to work towards earning her trust from that point forward. When acquiring livestock, sometimes you have to travel a ways to get what you want. I have worked every single day to earn this ladies respect, and some days I am pretty sure I still don't have it yet LOL! You would think that in 8 years I'd have made some progress.
CC was bred to give me babies in 2013. She delivered two beautiful bucklings, but had a very difficult delivery. This was the first sign that CC had some underlying health issues that were just starting to present themselves. The two bucklings CC gave birth to that year, (SRM Apollo, and SRM Merak) were both sold as breeding bucks to other farms - a real bonus for those owners! Sadly for my breeding program though, as CC has not been in optimal health ever since that year, and therefore unsuitable for breeding in my program, she has been retired and I have lost her genetic line. I continue to work with CC in the hopes she will regain her full health, but until then I continue to dance her game with Death with her. One of the hard parts about farming is that sometimes no matter what you do to plan or prepare, there will always be surprises and setbacks. Often this lifestyle has a very raw edge to it, especially that fine line between life and death. As I have had to bury three beloved animals since November, I am not in a hurry to lose CC as well and fortunately for me she is a superior fighter! It just so happens that after a few years, I have finally found a way to get some of those lost bloodlines of CC's back into my herd! That exciting news will be announced very soon in the coming weeks!
So back to CC and her ongoing health battles. What started as a simple worm load one summer, became an ongoing battle with a skin condition, to a false positive test for CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis), to a full blown diagnosis of Polio-encephalitis which is normally fatal. CC's poor body has gone through the wringer over the last several years and sometimes it takes everything I have to keep her going. During the last 1.5 years of her life though, I have resigned myself at least half a dozen times that she was on her way out, just to have her bounce back over and over again! Our most recent scare was just over a week ago when one morning CC was suddenly down again, unable to get up. Her body temperature had plummeted again but this time she was severely anaemic all of a sudden too! The anaemia has been a completely new challenge she is throwing at me but once again she is winning the battle! I am very fortunate to have an arsenal of farm medical supplies on hand at all times for just this reason. The biggest health issue for CC at the moment is that she is still so weak and immune compromised, she tends to pick up anything and everything running through the farm. She battles pneumonia a couple times a year as well as her lungs are very prone to lung worm. Both of these issues have taken a huge toll on her physically and yet she continues to fight on. One of the other complications of the polio is that she suffers from permanent partial blindness now, and she is always just a little bit "off balance". As she continues to have ongoing relapses of the polio, CC is carefully monitored daily so her ongoing needs can be attended to. As CC prefers to be left entirely to her own devices unless she CHOOSES to spend time with you, my constant attentions to her health, plus the ongoing needles she receives for treatment, ensure that CC and I will likely always have a warring relationship. That's OK though. I think it is a small price to pay to have her around here. My farm would NOT be the same without CC.
Affection from CC is rare.....kind of like respect from her actually, come to think on it lol. The photo to the right was taken by my Grandson's mother several years ago and it is my ALL TIME favourite photo ever taken of me, as it perfectly captured a moment of PURE BLISS that I will never forget in my lifetime. It was during the summer and CC had recently recovered from a bad bout of pneumonia. I had spent many hours with her over several days, fighting to keep her going. I think this moment was about 4 or 5 days after she was fully recovered and back with the herd. We were all hanging out in the yard with the goats - as is a common activity at my place, when CC walked directly over to me and offered me this beautiful "HUG" that I know in my heart was a thank you from her. It was a turning point in my relationship with CC for sure, but she still doesn't trust me lol. That was only one of many battles we've fought over the years and to date I think I have earned a total of 3 CC hugs. This photo captured the first and best one. Anyone who volunteers or spends time here and gets to know the herd, learns about CC pretty quickly. She is truly one of the most elusive goats in the herd. Unlike Han Solo though, who is hyper sensitive so prefers to not be touched, CC actually enjoys affection! You just have to convince her you won't poke her with a needle at the same time! The poor girl has been poked and prodded so often I can't help but completely understand how she feels and so I completely respect her boundaries and only do what is necessary and with as little stress to her as possible.
As far as animals that inspire me go, CC is high up on the list. Ever since she joined my herd I have enjoyed her authentic personality. She is excellent at setting boundaries and has been an amazing teacher to me very recently again about the importance of setting boundaries. Some people are only interested in what you have to give them, and not offer you anything in return. Those kinds of relationships are very unbalanced and not healthy. I'm a bit slow at times but I am learning to recognize and change these patterns in my own behaviour. CC always seems to help me recognize and find a way to stand up for myself and my own needs as well. Another thing she reminds me of daily is that as I care for her I need to be remembering to care for myself. Self love is still something I am working towards. I admire this little goat so much. Her self assuredness, her absolute ZERO F@CKS GIVEN attitude. I have to admit, that during this pandemic CC's attitude has become a bit of a problem. When I have the herd out hiking lately, it is as if CC knows since we aren't working she can go wherever she chooses. it just so happens that the herd doesn't like to be separated so everyone follows her! It is infuriating and a few times recently she has led me on a wild goat chase when, without warning, the herd takes off in the opposite direction I was headed. Gee thanks CC!! Then I am left running after them! Grrr somedays I tell ya lol. I have been threatening to put a leash on her to keep her in line but as of yet most of my threats remain pretty hollow around here lol. I am just thrilled that somehow CC continues to find the will to keep fighting and pushing through everything life brings her way. I know one day her time will come, but it's not yet! Keep on shining C.C Rider! <3 Much love ~ Angee
In honour of Mother's Day, I wanted to post my blog a day early, so that I could give a shout out to all of the Mother's, the Grandmothers, and the nurturers of the world, and also to our beautiful Great Mother Gaia, that supports all life. During this pandemic our dear planet has been taking a break and some much needed rejuvenating. Even the wildlife have come out of hiding to see where all the humans have gone! I also wish a Happy Mother's Day to the father's who take on the challenge and lovingly play both roles. I have been blessed to have many wonderful women in my life that have filled this role over the years, and perhaps even likely more than most. Each of the Mother's in my life hold a very special place in my heart, and I send out my love to you all today <3 Each one of you has had a part in shaping me into the woman I am today. Some of the lessons that some of you have shared with me have made me stronger and more resilient than ever. I am a better person for the influence you have each had on me. Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for supporting and believing in me. Thank you for challenging me. Thank you for encouraging me when I lost my way. Thank you for the hugs, the kisses, the I love yous, the bedtime stories, the crying shoulders, the listening ears, the words of wisdom, and unwavering support. Your belief in me holds me up, especially so on the days that I don't believe in myself. Thank you all for your loving support <3 My heart and soul are full of love and respect to each of you today. <3
When I first decided to start telling these GotW stories, I knew there would be challenges as some stories are harder to tell than others. In order to keep things as real as possible when I share the interactions I have with my herd, I just keep everything coming from my heart and it becomes so much easier. Perhaps some things I share may make people scoff, or even laugh at me, but I hope that in the balance of everything, the scales tip towards making hearts lighter and smiles bigger with what I share. I have learned that no matter what you do in life, there will always be someone ready to knock you down, so always be true to yourself no matter what. I have not kept it secret that I have been going through some things and struggling lately, but I have not shared why as of yet. There is not a single person on the planet that isn't going through something during this pandemic. I think stress, depression and collective emotional trauma are at an all time high on a global scale. This is MY blog though. I created it as a outlet and my personal space for doing just this. Anyone can create a blog and I welcome others to do so :) If I am to hold true to me and my mission then that means I must be my true, vulnerable and authentic self, so I shall share. I was recently knocked down hard by someone I have loved and trusted as a best friend for a good portion of my life. Some days I am tempted to turn bitter and let it change me, but I won't. My heart was deeply broken by this person that I thought was incapable of such hurt towards me, and I am still shocked to even write it weeks later. My open heart sure is a great big target sometimes. The lockdown, shutting my business doors and the loss of my best friend all happened simultaneously, which to be quite honest, led me into the darkest depression I've been in for years. This time around it is much different though, as I am now in possession of some very powerful tools to help me through the dark days. Feeling the difference as I process through my emotions, I now stand in a place of self love and that makes all the difference in the world. I am actually in awe and proud of how much stronger I am this time around. I KNOW I am a good person and someone else's opinion of me is no concern of mine. I will stay true to me and my heart. I KNOW I was a good friend, and I have no regrets for the wonderful years we shared. I've come to a point in my life where I am no longer tolerant of BS. Perhaps I should have gotten here sooner, but this lesson will not be one I forget. Besides, there is no time like the present to learn from past mistakes and set new and clear boundaries moving forward, and so I shall! :)
OK well enough of that! In order to make this Mother's Day post make sense, I guess I should get on with it eh? One of the Mother's I was addressing above is actually also this weeks GotW. My dear Soleil, whom I very lovingly refer to as "My Mamacita", is literally one of my most dearest herd members. She is who I go to when I am in need of deep comfort. When I sit with her, I feel like I am surrounded by ALL of the Mother's of my heart. Her heart is special, and she has a very unique gift that I am still trying to unlock and explore, which I will explain in greater detail later.
My dear, sweet Soleil was born on July 21, 2014. She was born during the darkest point in my life, a few short months after my husband passed away. I actually have very few memories of the months between when Geordon died and Soleil was born. My memories are also hazy due to the PTSD, but that time in my life was very GREY. That may sound strange to someone who has never lived through a dark depression but to those that have this will resonate. It is like nothing exists, or like your watching your life through a veil or fog. For me at that time there was no light, no laughter, no joy. Just mediocrity. Every single day for months. Other babies were born before Soleil that year, and they were all lovely and amazing, but it wasn't until Soleil was born that I think life came back into my body. Other than when my son was born, I can't recall any creature, up to that point in my life that captivated me so completely. Soleil was given her name because she became the sun that shone through my depression. She brought colour, taste and smell back into my life. This sweet little angel, born from a living miracle (SRM Neveah), was so pure and innocent, as she explored our backyard world. Her joyful jumps and endless playful nature, mixed with her constant need for lap cuddles, slowly but surely brought me back to life again. I mean really...lol Look at that face! When it come to spoiled goats in my herd, this one right here is very close to the top. When my Mamacita calls, I come running!
I should also mention that my son Daniel is also very securely bonded with this little Mamma. Right from birth, we both knew she was special and we immediately began a war over who she loved more. Animals don't know such silliness, and she loves us both of course lol. In the years since, my son and I both agree that Mamacita has a heart that is too big for just the two of us to love. The connections she makes with clients and visitors to our farm continually blow my mind. Not only in this little lady the embodiment of "Grandmother Energy", but she also has a way of looking right through to the heart of your problems and even into your soul. I wasn't kidding when I said that while I sit with her I feel the energy of all of the Mothers and Grandmothers surround me. I have listened to many stories from visitors about how while sitting with Soleil, they felt the presence of their recently deceased, beloved mothers and grandmothers so often now that I can no longer consider it a coincidence. I am always open to whatever comes out of each visitor experience to the farm. In my line of training (FEEL) there is a phrase we all commonly say, and it is so true - "You can't make this shit up". Among my FEEL community, I am as normal as they come - well perhaps not actually, considering the rest spend all their time with horses, while I spend mine mostly with goats, although I work with horses too. As a FEEL Practitioner, I believe that all living creatures have sentience, thoughts, feelings and wisdom to share. From a connected heart space, there is a profound amount of communication that can occur. Some of my goats are as gifted in this mode of communication as the amazing horses that my FEEL community partners work with on a daily basis. Soleil is no exception and I feel that her gifts are far superior to many others in my herd. Aside from the moments of connection with "Mother" energy, Soleil also seems to have a gift for unlocking peoples hearts to allow the free flowing of emotions. For such a teeny tiny little goat, she sure does have the biggest heart! Did I mention that Soleil stands 16" tall and weighs only 60 pounds? So tiny!
I describe Soleil as "everyone's Mama" and I think that is really indicative of the energy she exudes. So loving, caring and nurturing, she is also very quick to scold or chastise you if she feels you deserve it. This is one little goat that I will always defer to, or drop everything for. When I sit in meditation with her, the persona that comes across to me is that of a little old Mexican Grandmother, hence the nickname Mamacita <3 As the maternal genetic line Soleil carries goes right back to the very beginning of my breeding program, it is important that certain lines carry on and therefore the decision was made for Soleil to become a real Mamma! In 2016 she gave birth to SRM Star Trek, a single doe kid. Then in 2017 Soleil shocked me when she gave birth to Sky River Meadows first set of quadruplets! Well that was a jump! Apparently her first year was just practice lol. As you can see from the picture above, this little family is small in size indeed! With the exception of SRM Star Trek, the rest of Soleil's kids actually fall under the category of "dwarf dwarf", dwarfism within a dwarf breed. Bilbo, Raen and even Galadriel and her sister Rosie Cotton to an extent, all have inherited this very tiny stature, which makes them unsuitable for breeding for safety reasons. Fortunately for me and them, I have the perfect job for these teeny tiny goats! <3 ;)
Shortly after giving birth to her quads, Soleil became ill with some odd and ever changing symptoms. After months of testing and multiple biopsies, Soleil was diagnosed with an auto immune disorder. She has been retired from breeding for this reason, and now I can focus on combating her symtoms as they arise. Soleil goes through outbreaks about 6 to 8 times a year. Now that I recognize that it is often an allergic reaction to insect bites that starts the cycle, I try to be extra diligent with her through the different season to ensure she is as protected as possible. Living in Muskoka our livestock have to deal with pests throughout all season. Lice and mites are common in the winter months while mosquitos, black flies and other flying insects during the warmer months. I have a good arsenal of aides on hand at all times to help in this battle. Soleil is in good hands and will be here for many years to come to offer comfort and loving connection to anyone needing some motherly love. Don't worry, Soleil will ask for comfort in return! Nothing is free when it comes love from Mamacita. She has lots of itchy places needing scratched, especially her bum! Soleil also really appreciates having her cheeks scratched while she peers deeply into your soul with her ice blue eyes. One of my favourite things about Soleil is that still to this day she allows me to pick her up and cuddle her in my lap, just like when she was so new and tiny almost 6 years ago. They say the average life expectancy of a female goat is 15-17 years, with some on record living into their 20's! I haven't owned goats long enough to know what the average life expectancy of my herd will be, but I hope that for many years to come I have the constant, steady and loving presence of My Mamacita. With her by my side I am never lonely. Although she can't kiss my physical booboos, she does a damn good job of helping to heal the ones on the inside that are on my heart. <3 Happy Mother's Day!! Blessings, ~ Angee